Laugher hoping to jump in Daley’s footsteps

Double world junior champion Jack Laugher hopes he can one day enjoy his time in the spotlight currently occupied by Tom Daley after an eighth-placed finish in the 3-metre springboard final on his World Championships debut that belied his 16 years.

The Harrogate District AC diver was in no way out of place among a world-class field in Shanghai and appeared to be completely unaffected by nerves.

His total of 453.50 points secured eighth spot, which in turn saw the teenager into next year’s World Series while booking a place for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics, although not for Laugher himself as he will have to qualify.

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While Daley was winning senior international titles at 14 and became world champion at 15, Laugher appears to be making a seamless transition from junior to senior ranks.

Last year the Damian Ball-trained diver claimed double European Junior gold and went on to replicate his achievements at the World Junior Championships in Arizona.

Laugher revealed team-mate Daley had imparted advice on staying calm and controlling any nerves and was flattered by comparisons to the 17-year-old, who until tomorrow at least is the world 10m platform champion.

He said: “It’s very nice to be compared to Tom Daley, he is an amazing representative for the sport.

“He is such a good talent but there is a big difference between springboard and platform diving.

“It would be great to live up to what he has done and the achievements he has got, let’s just see.”

He added: “Yes, it would be nice to have that kind of spotlight I guess. I don’t really know what his life’s like but it would be nice to get to his level and then you never know what’s out there.”

Describing the competition as “absolutely great”, Laugher had few nerves, saying: “I tried to put them to the back of my mind.

“I tried not to think of it as it is a world championships, but as a home competition or practice.

“I didn’t really have any expectations coming in and that helped put my nerves away.”

Having completed his GCSEs, Laugher will return to sixth form at Ripon Grammar School, although he is as yet undecided whether he will spread his A-Levels over three years given the Olympics are just a year hence.

The event was won by China’s He Chong, the hosts having won every gold medal so far.

There will be no British representation in the later stages of the women’s 3metre springboard competition as City of Leeds pair Rebecca Gallantree and Hannah Starling failed to make it out of the prelims.

Starling, just 16, finished with 259.40 points in 27th, two places ahead of Gallantree, 26.